Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s.
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By t...
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
Key terms for Antique and Vintage Longines Wristwatches:
Chronograph: A watch that also records time intervals, like a stopwatch.
Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.
Escapement: A device that converts the pressure of a spring or coil into a fixed release of movement.
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The Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece ChronographWorld Tempus (press release), August 26th
For its latest creation, the Longines Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece Chronograph, the brand has replicated the lines of one of its pilot watch dating from the 1950s. The 47.50 mm diameter of the original model has been reproduced, as well as the...Read more
New AmbassadorsWorld Tempus, August 21st
Longines is proud to welcome Yana Kudryavtseva and Giulia Steingruber, both exceptional gymnasts, the former in rhythmic and the latter in artistic, to the prestigious family of Longines Ambassadors of Elegance. The Swiss watch brand Longines...Read more
Longines Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece Chronograph WatchForbes, August 21st
Those interested in reasonably-priced mechanical Swiss watches that exist almost exclusively as an ode to the past need look no further than the historic brand Longines. Under the Swatch Group Swatch Group as a parent company, Longines enjoys great ...Read more
Longines Global Champions Tour of London Grand Prix: Scott Brash claims victorySkySports, August 16th
Olympic team gold medallist and world No 1 showjumper Scott Brash enjoyed a stunning British victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour of London Grand Prix at Horse Guards Parade. The 28-year-old Scotsman produced a masterclass on the brilliant ...Read more
This Land Is Your Land! Bruce Springsteen watches his daughter Jessica ...Daily Mail, August 14th
Replacing the highway with London's Horse Guards Parade, the 64-year-old rocker's daughter Jessica Rae Springsteen proved that she had the skills to command the land as she took part in the Longines Global Champions Tour on Thursday. Playing the ...Read more
Deux ambassadrices élégantes pour LonginesRTN, August 14th
Longines choisit deux ambassadrices sportives. La maison horlogère de Saint-Imier a jeté son dévolu sur les gymnastes Giulia Steingruber et Yana Kudryavtseva. La Russe est la championne du monde 2013 de gymnastique rythmique. Quant à la Suissesse ...Read more
Vidéo. Ascot 2014World Tempus, August 10th
Cette année, Longines célébrait sa huitième année de collaboration avec la célèbre course de chevaux, en tant que chronométreur officiel. Stefi Graf, l'ancienne championne de tennis et Ambassadrice de l'Elégance Longines, y a fait une apparition ...Read more
Longines Royal International Horse Show: Trevor Breen wins Queen Elizabeth II ...SkySports, August 2nd
The only one of Hickstead's premier classes that the pair is yet to win is the Longines King George V Gold Cup, which Trevor and Addy have only been able to compete in once, when they were part of Ireland's FEI Nations Cup team in 2013 (they finished ...Read more